the artistry and psychology of gaming


World 1 (Excite Mario Bros.)

World 1 (Excite Mario Bros.)

I believe that the number of dreams I’ve had of the Mushroom Kingdom is second only to the number of dreams that I’ve had of the futuristic world of robots. It is hard to say which I like better, but the dreams of the Mushroom Kingdom are usually far more surreal. I suppose that might be because the Mushroom Kingdom is such a bizarre realm, but it is certainly not for me to attempt to understand dreams, especially mine. This particular dream was a bit different from many of the others, however. While most dreams use the source of their inspiration as a mere shell to provide a new experience, this one seemed almost as familiar as the memory itself.

There is a dream that I have had fairly recently that I will account to you in full. Though the dream was rather short, each of its three segments was such a wonderful world of its own. It was a bit of a patchwork of many of my early adventures; even my adversaries were familiar motorcyclists, interstellar bounty hunters, electric mice, and residents of Dream Land. Despite this, the coloration and configuration worked together to create a very unique experience that I hope to be able to experience again some day. Let us begin our journey through a land that, unless someone is able to tap into my mind – a dangerous proposition, to be sure – only I will ever tread.

I began by leaving a small fortress at night. Occasional stars dotted the sky, but it was mostly empty. The ground beneath me was orange with a few little red sprouts, creating a very pleasant pattern. Beneath was dirt that was a bit more yellowed and gritty, and before me – or far in the distance; I could not tell – were orange hills with eyes upon them, much like you’d see in many parts of the Mushroom Kingdom. There were also larger hills of red, and the pipes emerging from the ground were orange with a black shine to them; something that I cannot explain. I went down one of the pipes.

I was in a very dark section of the underground with blue rocks and blue bricks framing the room. Collecting a large number of coins, I exited through the pipe before me, which was black with a blue shine. I came back out and wandered through the beautiful landscape for a while. I took note that the deep pools that I had encountered had blue waters that were not only wild, but also provided a very stark contrast to the warm-colored landscape around me. After a time, I came to the first fortress; I lowered the flag and went inside, but instead of raising my own flag, an eyeball came out of the top.

The second section was a bit more treacherous; the hills stood higher, and there were more pools. Were I to have fallen into these waters, I would most certainly have drowned. I continued my grueling journey, not having time to realize that the maddening waters were an apt symbol of the increasing chaos around me. I used floating girders to cross large gaps, and eventually came to that telltale stair-like stack of blocks that meant that I was nearing the second fortress. Much to my surprise, however, there was no second fortress; I had arrived at the castle already! The flagpole sat near – almost in – the water, so I carefully lowered it and headed inside.

Inside, it was very similar to many of the fortresses that I had encountered in my third trip to the Mushroom Kingdom. All was dark, and the windows were identical to those of the aforementioned fortresses. The pools of lava were wild, just like the waters outside, and residents of Dream Land would periodically leap from them, completely unharmed. I ran through a series of narrow corridors with fire bars wishing to sear my flesh, leaving me little room for error. It was out of the frying pan, and into the fire, as I encountered many pools of lava in my path. The girder that I used to cross the longest stretch was actually sitting on top of the deadly liquid; I was fortunate to have dreamt myself to be wearing heat-resistant boots, but even still, the burning pain was more than palpable. I headed through some more tricky corridors, eventually coming to the bridge, which had a flat surface, but was bolstered by logs underneath. Instead of the customary axe, Disk-kun sat upon the ledge just beyond, though he served the same function when I touched him.

When I left this castle, everything became far more beautiful and intriguing, but that is a story for next time…

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